By Sarah Gianelli
EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – Greene Construction is a custom home building company based in Big Sky. The company is owned and run by Josh and Debby Greene. Josh began his career in the home building industry in the late ’80s and moved to Big Sky with his family in 1998 and started Greene Construction, Inc.
As part of this ongoing series, Josh shared his thoughts with EBS about what it takes to make it as a small business owner in Big Sky.
Explore Big Sky: What has been the key to your success?
Josh Greene: Being adaptable. I’m always asking myself: Can we do better? How do we keep learning and improving? It’s also important to build a strong team and instill a sense of mission on any given project.
EBS: Do you remember your first commission/project in Big Sky?
J.G.: Yes, my first project was working for Packy Cronin in one of the first houses in the South Fork subdivision. Packy is from Hawaii; I moved here with my family from Hawaii so we immediately had that connection.
EBS: What are the biggest obstacles to operating a small business in Big Sky?
J.G.: Currently it’s labor. I’m blessed with a great crew right now, but it’s difficult for people starting out in Gallatin County to afford to settle down, buy a home and make a decent living.
EBS: How has the business landscape changed since you started out?
J.G.: Big Sky is now a major resort destination. The stakes are much higher now. I don’t have the statistics in front of me but housing and construction costs seem to have doubled (or tripled?) in the last 20 years. Additionally, the real estate market has been so volatile it’s hard to forecast where we will be in the next two, five,10 years.
EBS: What is it about Big Sky that compels you to stick it out through the hard times?
J.G.: I’ve made a commitment to the community. My kids were raised here, some of my strongest friendships are in Big Sky. I have been fortunate to have a steady stream of work. I’ve developed relationships and a reputation in Big Sky that I am proud of.
EBS: What is one of the most memorable moments you have had as a business owner in Big Sky?
J.G.: One would be completing a LEED Gold commercial building working with a group of dedicated locals: John Boersma, Steve Rager, Phillip Kedrowski, Reid Smith, Mark Tedsen, among others. We installed a heat pump using the Big Sky Water and Sewer holding ponds as a heat source. My company was recognized as Green Builder of the Year for that.
EBS: What was a business idea that didn’t work?
J.G.: I’ve had many experiences and I try to learn from the failures more than I learn from the successes. I would say the investing in real estate back in 2007 was a business idea that didn’t work out.
EBS: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
J.G.: Pay your taxes!
EBS: What advice would you give to small business owners just starting out in Big Sky?
J.G.: If you really want to succeed, make a commitment to Big Sky. Debby and I moved here with a 4 year old and 11-month-old twins. We had no choice but to succeed. It sounds kind of extreme but living and working in Big Sky is extreme. Just look outside—it is a remote, intensely beautiful place.
EBS: Where do you see your business in 10 years?
J.G.: Like I said, I’m adaptable. I’ll do what feels right and what I need to do.
EBS: Where do you see Big Sky in 20 years?
J.G.: Big as ever.
EBS: Would you do it all over again?
Greene Construction, Inc. – By the numbers
Years in business: 20
Longest serving employee: My wife Debby and I, 20 years